Data Brokers in the EU


What type of data do data brokers collect and what do they do with it? In essence, this is the question we will try and put in an EU context, then try and answer in this session. Clients of information brokers come from a wide range of industries and professions, both private and public ones. The products are beneficial, brining no harm to their users, whilst at times can threaten fundamental rights. The context will be set in order to better understand the EU data landscape and actors involved.

Furthermore, we will dive into the principles of a well governed digital society, which include trade-offs between conflicting values, such as privacy versus security, accuracy versus democratic control, and fairness versus efficiency.

In the EU, explicit consent from users is required, and data can only be collected for legally based re-use, requiring legitimate interest. In some cases, the data is merely derived, inferred, or predicted, thus argued that it is not personal data. We will explore how this is done in practice, and how at times it is abused or misinterpreted based on its ambiguity.

Lastly, we will touch upon the challenges the EU faces in protecting our privacy and uphold transparency and see how research will aid strengthening independent and public institutions.


Overall, the subtopics will aim at covering:

• understanding the process of collecting, cleansing, packaging, and selling or licensing information to third parties; ad-tech brokerage

• data democracy and ownership; good governance principles

• social processes of platformisation, algorithmisation, and datafication

• using consumer data in an ethical way



Anne Helmond, Associate Professor of Media, Data & Society at Utrecht University

Fernando van der Vlist, researcher in Media and Culture Studies at Utrecht University

Dr Christian Rusche, economist in the `Digitalization, Structural Change and Competition´ research unit at the German Economic Institute

• other tbc

CU Session on Data Brokers - the value of your online data pic
CU Session on Data Brokers - the value of your online data
data data value chain data brokers data value